The payment process is arguably the most important part of a business. After all, you can’t run a business without earning money. But beyond the standard metrics like sales or costs, you can’t overlook a crucial element of payment in this digital day and age: the point of sale (POS) system.
A POS is simply the place where customers can make their purchases. In a brick-and-mortar store, it can look like the cash register or tablet at the counter. Or, if it’s an online shop, it’ll be cloud-based software. Whatever form your POS takes on, it should serve several key functions to keep your business in good shape. For example, it needs to be able to process transactions, print or email receipts, collect data, and manage inventory.
POS systems seem simple enough, but many people don’t know as much about them as they should. A POS system is essentially a central hub that displays all the data about the exchange of a customer’s money for your products or services. Business owners should view a POS system as the bridge that connects the customer experience before and after a purchase.
What’s more, because of advancing technology and because customers increasingly desire contactless payment methods, it’s essential to understand POS systems well so you can invest in a system that can help you achieve your business goals. And if you’re a small business owner who’s just starting out, a POS should be one of the first things you think about as you begin establishing the logistics of your organization. After all, nothing pleases both a company and a customer more than a breezy transaction process.
Every great company puts itself in the customer’s shoes. Imagine researching a product or service that can fulfill your wants and needs. Then, you stroll through the aisles or scroll through pages and pages of products and services. You compare prices, ponder over whether the purchase is a good idea, talk to friends about their experience with the product, decide how to pay for it, and — nothing happens. Turns out, the shop doesn’t accept the type of payment you want to use. As a result, you’re frustrated at the amount of time you lost and most likely have a sour opinion of that shop.
You don’t want to give them a second chance after this interaction, and you decide to buy your product elsewhere or find a different product. This reaction is how many customers will respond in the above scenario. No business owner wants to alienate a customer, so it’s critical to install a POS system that makes buying quick, simple, and flexible.
Regarding contactless payment methods, the pandemic and rising consumer expectations require POS systems to be able to handle whatever type of payment a customer presents, whether they’re swiping, inserting, or tapping. It’s not a cash world anymore. More customers are ditching their dollar bills in favor of phones and cards. From contactless debit and credit cards to mobile wallets, peer-to-peer platforms, cryptocurrency, and buy now, pay later apps, customers increasingly want and expect many options during checkout. In fact, contactless payment is so significant to the purchasing process that 37 percent of Canadians would consider avoiding a shop that doesn’t accept it. With that said, small businesses should prioritize finding the right POS system for their business that can satisfy their customers’ needs.
On the internal side of things, a great POS system can do wonders for improving business operations. Other than taking payments, POS systems impact security and compliance because they integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, email marketing provider, and other software. Moreover, they allow a level of reporting and analytics that can be beneficial for bigger business decisions and thrust your organization to new heights. It’s incredible what a seemingly small part of the business equation can do to transform your bottom line.
Because a POS system is so viable, employers and employees need to put a lot of care and thought into their systems. Choosing a system and installing it isn’t enough. Like with other technologies, you’ll need to do proper training for your staff. What’s the point of investing in a state-of-the-art POS system if the people using it are confused? Not only will employees be disheartened if they struggle to use your system, but it will appear unprofessional to customers too. Along with formal training, business owners should provide text or video tutorials. It’s also a good idea to place a detailed, user-friendly guide that acknowledges frequently asked questions in an easily accessible place for whenever someone needs a quick refresher.
After all of the preparation needed for a POS system, you still have one more thing to think about. What will you do when faced with technological issues? No matter how advanced your system is, all tech is bound to go awry at some point. Figuring out a systematic way to handle such troubles will calm both workers and customers. Make sure to choose a POS company that offers a troubleshooting form and ideally attentive customer support.
POS systems have many moving parts, and this graphic can shed more light on them.